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Tree fern planting advice

AdRockAdRock Posts: 241
I’ve been given a large tree fern which I’d like to plant in the garden. I’ve found a suitable spot, shady and sheltered with evening sun... hopefully that will be ok.

We do suffer from cold winters, so rather than plant directly into the ground, would it be advised to sink the pot into the ground and lift every winter? It’s got handles, so would be easy to do.

If this is possible, would I add some drainage to the bottom of the hole (gravel) or would this just create a layer that would become too wet? We have medium clay soil... nothing too bad! 

Thanks so much in advance! I’m learning so much from everyone on here so many thanks for that 😊


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,724
    Just bumping this up in the hope that folk with relevant experience will see it 😊 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Paul B3Paul B3 Posts: 3,007
    edited May 2019
    Unfortunately their duration in a pot is very limited as I used to grow mine in similar conditions many moons ago .
    After approximately three-years in a very large pot the plant literally stopped growing , irrespective of the voluminous amounts of rainwater and plant food doled out to it frequently .
    Realising something was wrong , I laboriously extracted it from the pot only to find a congested rootball which was so compacted as be virtually impervious to water !
    Remedy ; two strong garden forks to remove all of this (it resembled coconut-matting) right back to the 'trunk' . Prising it away in huge pieces was strangely rewarding !
    This is of no detriment to the plant at all ; (the 'trunk' is actually just a mass of root anyway).
    It now stands (5' stem) proudly beneath the dappled shade of a large Black Pine ; my garden soil is of a good loamy structure and the fern has never looked so good .
    It has been planted outdoors in the garden and has withstood with impunity the severe cold spell of 2009/10 and also last years 'Beasts' .
    I never cover it or provide any protection , and  feel the plant has become fully acclimatised to our climate around here (E.Lincs.) .
    I don't know the size of your fern , but you refer to it as large . Growing in height by only 1" per year in good conditions , you'll be able to appreciate it before it becomes too unmanageable (in terms of weight) in time .
    If you do decide to keep it in a pot , root removal or thinning out would be good practice
    every second year or so .
    Their roots soon regenerate and the process seems to re-vitalise the whole plant .
    Good luck with whatever you decide !
    PS  Water copiously during growth and misting the fronds (rainwater) helps too .

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